Search for 'monsters' launched after 2 children among 3 killed

"We will find these monsters," police officials said.

As a mother sobbed and wailed in the background for her slain children, a Columbus, Ohio, police official announced that a 9-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl were among three people found fatally shot in a vehicle.

In an emotional news conference Tuesday night following the deadly ambush outside an apartment complex, Assistant Chief LaShanna Potts of the Columbus Police Department directed a message to the "monsters" responsible for the killings, saying, "We will hunt you down until we get you."

"What we do know right now is that we have two young kids who have been murdered," Potts said. "There's a mother now who will have to go on in her life without two young babies that she will no longer get to raise. They don't get to get married. They don't get to go to school."

The killings came as Ohio's capital city is in the midst of an unprecedented surge in homicide. Columbus is one of at least 12 major U.S. cities that have broken annual homicide records with a little over three weeks to go in the year.

Columbus surpassed its record set just last year by recording its 175th homicide of 2021 on Nov. 26.

Potts said Tuesday's triple slaying occurred about 6:16 p.m. local time in the parking lot of the Winchester Lakes apartment complex on the city's southeast side.

She said officers responded to reports of shots fired and found a bullet-riddled vehicle in a parking spot with three bodies inside.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, police officials identified the victims as 6-year-old Londynn Wall'neal, 9-year-old Demitrius Wall'neal and 22-year-old Charles Wade.

At least two gunmen walked up to the vehicle and "without any warning or provocation" opened fire, according to the statement. Following the shooting, the gunmen got into a waiting car driven by a third suspect and fled the scene, the statement reads.

"This is unacceptable," Potts said. "I am pissed. I speak for the division and the officers who have to go on these runs day in and day out. It's getting tiresome. This should be an outrage to this community and we have to say enough is enough."